Where in the Central Zone has the greatest degree of greenlands protection been achieved?

There can be little doubt that both the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) - even though the latter has been in effect for only a few months - have achieved what they set out to do; namely, to assign a protected status to a wide range of greenlands and to restrict development to low-intensity uses in very select areas. Both plans go far beyond the PPS, not only in terms of what is considered "significant," but also with respect to the type, scale, and density of development, that is considered appropriate in different portions of the Escarpment or Moraine. Furthermore, the ORMCP has raised the bar considerably when it comes to the environmental tests to which a development application will be subjected, with more generous triggers for an EIS and minimum 30-metre-wide "vegetation protection zones" surrounding the greenlands features.

Taken together, protection of the Niagara Escarpment and Oak Ridges Moraine has had, and will continue to have, a profound effect on the pattern of urban development in south-central Ontario. These two planning initiatives have effectively created a physical barrier, a northern and western limit to urban sprawl within the Greater Toronto Area.

Beyond this, many Central Ontario municipalities (such as the Region of York and the Region of Waterloo) have implemented wide-scale "greening" initiatives. These are strategic documents that endeavour to go beyond the environmental policies entrenched in an Official Plan, by fostering a conservation ethic among the residents of a municipality. Rather than focusing on maintaining the status quo with respect to greenlands, these plans promote individual and collective actions (such as tree planting, soil and water conservation, or land stewardship) that, it is hoped, will ultimately result in a net gain in forest cover.